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Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand approx 700kms S/E of Bangkok in the province of Surat Thani. Known in the early years as Coconut Island,Koh Samui is Thailands 3rd largest island measuring 247 square kms ,it is 21kms at it`s widest & 25kms at it`s longest & the sales pitch is "no development is higher than the coconut trees".
I have recently returned from my 6th visit to Ko Samui & I will never tire of returning to this paradise.In my travels I have found it to be the tropical paradise it`s advertised to be,there is something for everybody,plenty of options for accomodation,food,activities,entertainment.I have nothing but kind words for the locals & the way they treat"farangs"(westerners).To me there is no better way to spend an afternoon/evening strolling along the beach sampling the many & varied aspects of Thai culture especially a nice cocktail or 6 during the happy hour that lasts for 4 sensaaational!!!. Take the time to holiday on Ko Samui & you will not be disappointed(although people who discovered it while it was a well kept secret will probably disagree).
The best weather conditions for Koh Samui are found in the April to mid September period.October to late December/early January is the wet season with the rain at it`s heaviest & most frequent in the late October to November period . Current ConditionsBe aware that if you travel in the above mentioned wet period YOU will see rain how much is anybodies guess.It doesn`t matter how many times or many people you ask,nobody can give a definitive answer because no 2 years are the same!!!
If you have any queries regarding Koh Samui you can e-mail me at virtual tourist or email@example.com
"Where to stay"
This question is one which is frequently asked on the various Koh Samui internet travel forums(along with the obligatory weather questions)
Koh Samui offers many options in all price ranges from the budget conscious to 5 star luxury. Yes everything from mosquito riddled huts to the lap of luxury you`re sure to find something to suit your needs & budget on Koh Samui.
The main areas accommodation wise in my opinion for Koh Samui are Chaweng Beach ,Lamai & Bophut. Other areas with some nice accommodation options are Choengmon ,Chaweng Noi but there is accommodation all around Koh Samui.Your choice really comes down to personal preferences & what follows is a brief description of the above areas in the hope it might make your accommodation decision a little easier.
Chaweng Beach really is the hub of Koh Samui.By far the most popular area it has everything you need at the drop of a hat. It has 7 kms of beach covered with beautiful powdery white sand ,numerous resorts , bars & restaurants front this truly amazing stretch of beach.The beach road itself is a hive of activity day & night.The sounds of the songtaews tooting their horns ,the utilities advertising Muay Thai Boxing & pretty much anything else that`s going on.At night Chaweng comes alive with world explorers enjoying themselves to the max at places like the Green Mango & surrounding area,The Reggae Pub & The Ark Bar to name a few.
Chaweng can be too full on for some but in my opinion this easily avoided by staying slightly away from the centre at either the northern end or my personal favourite the southern end.Both these areas are far enough out to give you the peace & quiet that one sometimes desires but still within easy access of the main entertainment, restaurants & shopping that the main part of Chaweng offers.
Lamai also has a lovely stretch of beach with more of the same beautiful powdery white sand that Chaweng offers.
Lamai is a little step back from Chaweng in pace & for things that are available but is the second busiest spot on Koh Samui.It has a much greater range of mid priced resorts than Chaweng & some of these represent good value.Lamai also has a lively nightlife both on the beach & main road.The ladies Muay Thai Boxing is a good fun night.
Bophut is on the N/W coast of Koh Samui & is an area that tends to attract the peace & quiet seeking visitors.it also has a good range of resorts from the 5 star range down to the mid to lower scale.
Bophut is the home of the famed “Fisherman’s Village” where there are numerous restaurants & bars. Fisherman’s Village has a nice laid back atmosphere which leads to many an enjoyable evening.
The beach at Bophut isn`t as picturesque as Chaweng or Lamai,the sand tends to more coarse than the above mentioned & the water not as clear but Bophut Beach is still more than ok.
Chaweng Noi is between Chaweng & Lamai & in my opinion is an underutilised & under advertised part of Koh Samui.It has the same beautiful powdery white sand & clear water that Chaweng & Lamai offer.The beach at times can seem deserted giving you that lovely feeling of tranquillity.
There are not a lot of accommodation options here but what there is is nice & mainly in the mid to high range.Chaweng Noi also has some nice restaurants & bars along the beach.
I`d much prefer Chaweng Noi to Bophut if I was looking for an area for some real peace & quiet.What really appeals to me here is an absolute feeling of peace & quiet yet the more livelier areas of Chaweng & Lmai are only a very short taxi or songtaew ride away.
Choengmon is at the northern part of Koh Samui.Once again Choengmon is an area that caters to people looking for a peaceful environment.The beach & water are ok although there is a rocky undercrop in some places but as I said it`s ok.
Once again as in most parts of Koh Samui there are some nice restaurants & bars that line the beach.Chaweng & Bophut are easily accessible from here.
As I said there are other areas but lack of space here prevents me from writing about them
"Tranquility v Progress?"
In the many & varied public forums , a common discussion thread is at what price the loss of tranquility in the quest of the tourist dollar.
In many peoples eyes this is a problem Thailand has , Koh Samui is a case in point. I read stories from people who discovered the many & varied delights of Koh Samui 10 - 15 yrs ago & most lament the loss of tranquility in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Where does it stop they ask , I can`t answer that question but as Thailand is a country that relies very heavily on the tourist dollar you are going to find it harder & harder to find that unspoilt paradise you crave.
My first visit to Ko Samui was in 1998,the main Chaweng road was dirt & commercalism was just becoming a factor , now 8yrs on it is a major factor , Maccas , Burger King , Pizza hut , Starbucks,Irish pubs all doing a roaring trade.
Every time I have returned I have noticed that there are always new buildings under construction & I am concerned that there is not enough infastructure in place to cope with all the new buildings.
For me personally there are still enough quiet places on Koh Samui to get that tranquil feeling but still having modern facilities close at hand.
If you are looking for the "deserted island " experience then maybe Koh Samui is not for you , however if you want a little of both then in my eyes Koh Samui is the perfect location to spend your much sought after tourist dollar.
Come & enjoy as I have , the paradise known as Koh Samui.